A Quest for Healing from the Waters of Earth; the Shamans Have a Centuries Old Tradition of Spiritual Healing Here in Wales and in Other Parts of the World. as Liz Davies Finds out, They Are the Modern Day Druids
Byline: Liz Davies
DERWYDDON BYD Y SHAMAN S4C/Saturday
A GROUP of people make their way up a mountain through the mist and rain, along the beginnings of rivers and past pools formed by water tumbling down the rocks.
They are led by a man with a long stick, dressed in a colourful blanket and, eventually, stop at a pool where they all stand and pay their respects to the water and the earth.
Their leader is Dei Hughes, and this is a healing session, a vision quest. There is a long tradition of pilgrimages to water in many countries, where people pay homage to Mother Earth and seek spiritual healing.
These are modern day druids, or Shamans.
Many outsiders who see images of white, blue and green robed men and women druids making their way to the stage of the National Eisteddfod each year see it as a ceremony to ridicule. In some respect they are right not to take it seriously because the processions, costumes and ceremonies were a creation by Iolo Morgannwg just 200 years ago.
Derwyddon Byd y Shaman (Druids the World of the Shaman) reveals that throughout history and right up to the present day, there are people who get their inspiration and strength from the earth. These are variously called druids, shamans or white witches, and in many societies they command huge respect. They are right here in Wales, too.
DEI Hughes, from Cwm Croesor, is a Welsh Shaman. His childhood background fits perfectly into the pattern of such people - a bad illness and a family of people who believed in the healing powers of the earth.
"My father used to tell fortunes, " he says.
"It was all quite natural to me when growing up. The energy comes into my hands and I pass it on. You help people to heal themselves. I've studied in Mexico, Canada, Peru and the way they do it there is so beautiful and healthy. It's just how my old Nain used to do it."
Historian Eirlys Grufydd from Mold, who is an expert on the subject, explains. "We are all children of the planet. Very often, we worship Mother Earth without realising it.
People think it's superstition but it's not. If we aren't at one with Mother Earth which has given birth to us and sustains us, then we aren't really living.
CATHY Heath, a healer who lives in a gipsy caravan on Anglesey, is another who feels the energy. "It comes down through part of me and into my hands, " she says. "I hold the person's hands and healing energy comes through them. The world as it is now has suppressed a lot of us, and it's as if what I'm doing is charging the batteries back up. …